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Movie Review

Space Chimps a.k.a. “Macacos no Espaço,” “Space Chimps—Micos no Espaço”

Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Kids
1 hr. 21 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 18, 2008 (wide—2,400 theaters)
DVD: November 25, 2008
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Space—questions and answers

Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

Questions and Answers about The Origin of Life Answer

For kids
click for Kid Explorers
Adventures for kids! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Andy Samberg
“Saturday Night Live”

Cheryl Hines
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Patrick Warburton
Rules of Engagement

Stanley Tucci

Kristin Chenoweth
“The West Wing”

Omid Abtahi, Jeff Daniels, Patrick Breen, Kenan Thompson, Carlos Alazraqui, Kath Soucie, Jane Lynch, Zack Shada
Director: Kirk De Micco
Racing Stripes” (writer/producer)
“The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot” (writer)
Producer: Vanguard Animation, Starz Media, Curtis Augspurger, Jerry Davis, Louise Goodsill, John W. Hyde, Tom Jacomb, Ralph Kamp, Barry Sonnenfeld, John H. Williams
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

“From one of the primates who brought you ‘Shrek’”

Ham, the real life original space chimp, was a hero from years gone by. He was launched into space in 1961 and died in 1983.

“Space Chimps” begins by remembering this hero. However, since the space program no longer uses chimps, the 3 chimps left at the space agency (Luna—voice of Cheryl Hines, Titan—Patrick Warburton and Comet) are in perpetual training—for nothing. When an unmanned probe goes through a wormhole and lands on an uncharted planet, the space agency decides to send chimps to check it out. However, the Senator decides they need a hero chimp and selects Ham’s grandson, Ham III (voice of Andy Samburg). Ham III is working at a circus and enjoys being in the limelight. Every night he gets shot out of a cannon into “space.” He does not want to be in the space program, and is going to cause problems for everyone.

When the chimps finally land on the planet, they are forced to bond to overcome the obstacles they encounter. One of these obstacles is the “evil alien lord” Zartog (Jeff Daniels). Zartog terrorizes everything on his planet. Can the 3 space chimps save themselves and the aliens from Zartog?

There was some objectionable content. One comment was made about a monkey being a “poop thrower” (which, of course, monkeys do throw poop, but the line was inserted to make kids laugh). There was also the usual male making advances toward the female present in almost all movies being made now. Ham says “I am a hottie.” Ham asks Luna if that is a banana in her pants—most children would seem to think that was a normal line for a chimp to ask another chimp.

Zartog is called lord. Someone says “oh my god.” They also use the line “kicked his butt.” Ham thinks Kilowatt (a little, cute alien) is drunk because she acts crazy when the chimps first meet her.

There is cartoon violence. Ham is shown being shot out of a cannon several times and crashing back down on the ground. Zartog has no regard for life and uses the unmanned probe to “grab” whoever he wishes to place in the “lava” pit and freeze. The little glowing alien, Kilowatt, is swallowed and passes out of an ugly and scary monster. Alien plants have sharp teeth and try to attack the chimps. Flying creatures shoot spikes at the chimps.

This movie does have some endearing qualities. Ham III teaches Luna to let loose once in a while and have some fun. The fun loving Ham learns from Luna the importance of taking things seriously. Ham also confesses that he has taken Houston (the chimp who has treated him like a son) for granted. All the chimps learn valuable lessons and learn how to work together. Ham teaches Kilowatt how to face her fears, and, in turn, Kilowatt sacrifices her life to save Luna and Ham, just as Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for us.

Before seeing this movie, I kept wondering how they would spin this movie. There were so many ways they could have taken the storyline, and I was curious to see how this movie would turn out. For some reason, it appears as if they could not decide on one storyline, but wanted to mix storylines from almost every space movie you have ever seen. There are similarities to almost all your favorite space movies rolled up into one. With that said, you could imagine how this movie jumps from plot to plot, while trying to tie up loose ends they created. Mixed in with all the storylines are a bunch of bad chimpuns such as “chimprovize,” “furious George,” “no monkey business,” etc.

While I thought this movie was incredibly stupid, and so did anyone over the age of 13, it did have an appeal to the 3-10 year old crowd. There is very little content that a parent would object to. This is a summer movie made to help you entertain the kids on a rainy afternoon.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—“Space Chimps” was a perfect movie for me and my wife because I love to learn about space and my wife has been collecting monkey stuffed animals for as long as I can remember. So we just had to go to the theater to watch it. As I watched the movie, there were several one-liners that she thought were very funny. A great date movie. Overall, I didn't enjoy the movie as I would have liked. I really had to train my mind not to think logically about what was going on and remember that this movie is just for kids.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Grey, age 24
Negative—Guys, this film could have been incredible! It does seem that in today's day and age that folks tend to “overlook” blasphemy. During their flight to the alien world, Ham III drops an OMG bomb. What is that all about????? Sorry for the extremely low rating, but one of the things that I was asked to consider in my “overall rating” was the script. I am sure that when we stand before our God that He will not have found it pleasing that we stood by and tolerated the using of His name casually.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Chris Tackett, age 34
[ What is “blasphemy”? Answer ]
Comments from young people
Neutral—This movie really disappointed me. The main reason I rented it was because Patrick Warburton is usually really funny, but he wasn't near as funny as he usually is. Some parts of this movie are funny I admit, but any part that involved the aliens was incredibly stupid. And the flesh-eating monster really grossed me out, I had to leave the room during that part. There isn't really anything objectionable, but still nothing really intelligent. Older kids will definitely get bored. And younger kids might get scared when Zortog terrorizes the alien people with his claw machine thing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Katie, age 16 (U.S.A.)
Positive—I went and saw this movie with my grandma, sister, and younger cousin. The movie had a great sense of humor and was very enjoyable, I recommend this movie for all ages. It shows very clearly that even though something might be smaller than you, that doesn't mean they're stupid.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Megan, age 11
Movie Critics
…delightful from beginning to end…
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…The CG animation is nothing special, but the characters are surprisingly fun and the story is full of enough puns, wordplay and slapstick to elicit laughs from across the age spectrum. …An entertaining family movie…
—The Hollywood Reporter
…the animation is so flat and lazy… Unappealing, detail-free backgrounds are sketched in. There's little visual magic. …
—Jason McBride, The Globe and Mail
…With adorable critters and icky monsters and oodles of potential toy accessories (to say nothing of a video game tie-in), this movie looks for that sweet spot in every 7-year-old's heart for chimpanzees and movies about them. And the script manages the occasional wisecrack or movie lovers’ inside joke to keep the grown-ups awake. …
—Roger Moore, The Orlando Sentinel
…Look, laughs fizzle… ‘Space Chimps’ sucks a whole lot of talented people into a wormhole of lousy. The film either needed to be a lot wittier to make up for the way it looks, or a lot better-looking to compensate for the funny it isn’t.
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
…not only is the low-grade CG on par with most Saturday morning cartoons, but the lack of vitality and movement in the characters themselves stands in the way of any sort of human connection. …
—Christa Banister, Crosswalk